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Category: Partner Stories

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United Way Donors Change Lives

United Way of Southeast Missouri believes it takes a community to lift a community.
That is why when you give, your donations stay right here in Southeast Missouri. Although UWSEMO has not been asked to invest in specific veterans’ programs, many partners in our network support veterans like Stacy, whose life was changed thanks to donors like you. 
Stacy came to Lutheran Family and Children Services of Missouri after experiencing chronic complex and acute traumas resulting in multiple suicide attempts. She had been to counseling before, but she couldn’t afford long-term treatment. She has been using a prescription multiple times a day to ease her PTSD symptoms. Stacy and her therapist spent some time building rapport, which is essential before trauma interventions can be effective. Stacy commented she had not had a safe relationship like the one with her therapist in a long time. She stated this was what she found most healing, even after the trauma interventions. Eventually, with treatment, she also lowered her use of prescriptions.
Without the funding from the United Way of Southeast Missouri, her progress would not have been possible. For trauma survivors, long-term therapeutic relationships and treatment are the basis for healing. They thrive with access to quality and consistent mental healthcare.
Thanks to United Way donors, Stacy can now envision a future where her symptoms will not interfere with her life and her relationships with others. You have helped United Way give her hope and find resilience.
Partner Stories

One City’s Work Life Program Returns Self-worth and Jobs to Graduates

“We’ve been able to rebuild who we were and regain who we are. Thank you,” said a recent graduate of the Work Life program UWSEMO supports at One City.

Housed in a beautifully renovated white brick building with an eye-catching yellow door at 610 Independence in Cape, One City is a relatively new nonprofit of only two years. The building supports a dance class, occasional community events, and the Work Life program, which brings employment and dignity to its graduates.

On October 17th, One City held their Work Life Graduation and thanked United Way donors for contributing to the success of the Work Life program and, more importantly, to the success of its graduates. Christina Cheek started as the program coordinator in early August just as a new class of participants began their journey. The class met every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 AM –12 PM, frequently leaving with homework and accumulating 40+ hours of curriculum in six weeks. Participants cover a broad age span, and many have been unemployed for years.

What is extremely unique about Work Life is their curriculum; they do not start with interviews or resume building but something deeper. They begin with balance. They talk about what it takes to know who you are before you can go out and give others what you have to offer. Balance in life is compared to a house–there is a foundation with walls that hold you up as an individual. The foundation of the Work Life program is God, followed by your relationship with yourself, others, and your Work Life. If you can find a balance between these four relationships, then you are preparing yourself for greater success in life.

 Work Life students discuss how mistakes from their past have destroyed their house. In some cases, it was not even their own mistakes but the environment they were raised in or people they let into their lives. The students accept their mistakes as they embrace their self-worth and the gifts they have to offer. All of the graduates have found jobs and are proud of the work and talent they are able to contribute.

United Way of Southeast Missouri is proud to be part of a program that is lifting people up in such an amazing way. We believe in their mission and can’t wait to see what they and their graduates do next! 

Partner Stories

Domestic Abuse Isn’t Always Violent

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Are you aware that domestic abuse isn’t always violent?
Many times, an abuser will take things that are essential to a woman’s self-confidence and independence, like dentures or eyeglasses, and withhold them as punishment or to keep her from leaving the house. Many victims in this situation do not have a network of family members or friends or may be too embarrassed to ask for help. That is why United Way of Southeast Missouri supports two programs at Safe House for Women. One helps with immediate medical and health needs, and the second is an education prevention program to create long-term impact and lasting change.
“This year we were able to provide five clients with eyeglasses. Many times, clients come to us without their glasses because their abusers have either taken them or broken them through violence. Being able to provide eyeglasses to our clients is a great boost to their confidence and enables them to drive and to work.” – Safe House for Women Director, Jessica Hill  
By supporting both Safe House programs, UWSEMO helps to address the immediate need and works to eliminate the behavior creating the need. Last year Safe House helped 68 victims of domestic violence and educated 2,298 students throughout Southeast Missouri on healthy relationships and how to safely leave one that is unhealthy.  
“One of the students who participated in the program wrote our educator a letter in which she stated that she had been abused by her brother. She said the program helped her to address what had happened to her and make sense of her experience.” – Safe House for Women Violence Prevention Educator